Menopause can be extremely challenging for many women.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make the passage through menopause smoother, such as following a diet that is high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates or ketogenic.
Consuming a very small quantity of carbohydrates can help curb insulin production, enhance the potency of insulin, keep one’s hunger in check and maybe even alleviate hot flashes and other signs.
Furthermore, ketogenic or low-carb diets offer numerous health benefits. This eating pattern may lessen the chance of other heart disease risk factors, making it all the more critical taking into account the loss of the cardioprotective impacts of estrogen.
Gaining an appreciation for how hard it can be to drop the pounds during menopause, even with the best efforts, is extremely important.
The extent to which a low-carb or keto diet leads to weight loss is contingent on other factors, some under your control and others not, including heredity.
Doing physical activity on a regular basis, controlling stress, and participating in other activities that are beneficial for a low-carb or ketogenic lifestyle can raise your chances of keeping up a good weight and an excellent quality of life both during and after the menopausal period.
Although technically a woman is said to be in menopause once she has not had a period in twelve months, the hormonal changes associated with the time leading up to it – referred to as perimenopause – can begin long before then.
On top of that, the effects of menopause can go on for a few years and additional side effects could present themselves within the early years following the change.
On average, women enter the stage of perimenopause at the age of 46 and it will usually last for around seven years. However, a female’s onset of perimenopausal symptoms may take place any time ranging from the mid-30s to the mid-50s, and it can extend from a duration of 4 to 14 years.
Once a woman has not had her period for a full year, she is considered in the postmenopausal stage. There are up to 34 signs and symptoms that may become apparent while going through and after the menopausal transition. The most common ones include:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Weight gain, especially around the middle
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Poor memory, ie, “brain fog”
It’s noteworthy that while some female individuals may observe their indications are more extreme during the perimenopausal period, others notice that they become even more profound once they are postmenopausal.
Keto for Body Composition Concerns
A lot of females who are in their 40s and 50s are having difficulty with a rapid, unexplained increase in weight. Unexpectedly, fat begins to gather around the middle section of the body. Clothes no longer fit. The reflection in the mirror looks as if it belongs to a different person.
Estrogen is the main culprit here. As estrogen levels fall, fat storage patterns shift. Instead of fat accumulating in the hips, butt, and thighs, which is normal for women after adolescence, a larger amount of fat is kept around the abdomen – both the subcutaneous fat and the internal visceral fat near the organs.
If you feel surprised by the alterations in your body’s makeup, you are not alone. In a four-year-long study, the menopausal experience of women aged 43 and above was monitored.
Researchers discovered that female participants put on fat around the midsection as they experienced menopause, despite consuming fewer total calories and carbohydrates on average.
The amount of energy used up, including when one is asleep, went down during this time period. The researchers determined that devoid of any modifications in diet or physical activity, menopause alone could lead to women acquiring fat.
Increasing numbers of investigations and lots of recorded stories demonstrate how efficient reduced-carb and ketogenic diet plans are for reducing body fat overall and losing belly fat in particular.
There is even some research focusing on the 40+ crowd, though it centers on postmenopausal, not perimenopausal, women:
- Among postmenopausal breast cancer survivors (average age: ~56), a low-carb diet with 32 percent of energy coming from carbohydrate led to significant fat loss over six months. A second group of women also lost weight following a low-fat diet, but the low-carb group lost slightly more.
- In another study, researchers assigned postmenopausal women (average age: 60) to follow either a standard diet (15 percent of energy intake from protein, 25 to 30 percent energy from fat, and 55-60 percent energy from carbohydrates) or a paleo diet with 30 percent of energy from protein, 40 percent from fat, and 30 from carbohydrates. Over the next two years, the women eating the paleo diet lost more fat, reduced weight circumference, and lowered triglycerides more than women eating the standard diet.
- A longitudinal study followed almost 90,000 postmenopausal women (aged 49-81 years) for up to eight years. At baseline, researchers assessed the macronutrient composition of their diets. Women who were in the lowest quintile of carbohydrate intake were the least likely to gain weight over the study period, compared to women who ate a low-fat diet or a standard diet.
Women going through menopause frequently have diminished muscle mass, which is a result of both the natural aging process and shifts in hormone levels. Compared to other diets that have a limit on calories, keto could possibly preserve muscles better, so there is less harm in muscle tissue when following a ketogenic diet.
Hormone Fluctuations and Insulin Resistance During Menopause
Throughout a female’s childbearing years, FSH engages in prompting the liberation of an ovum from one of her ovaries around every 28 days, and causes the ovaries to make estrogen. Once the egg has been released from the follicle, the follicle starts to create progesterone.
Nevertheless, as a female approaches the period of perimenopause, her ovaries have a lower number of eggs and begin generating less estrogen and progesterone. The pituitary gland in the brain acts to increase the amount of FSH it produces to try and make more estrogen.
Between these times, estrogen amounts may change drastically, yet in the last couple of years prior to menopause, they steadily decrease.
Generally, estrogen causes fat to accumulate in the hips and thighs since puberty. Many women, though not all, will experience an increase in weight in this area during the time when they are of reproductive age.
During menopause, as estrogen levels diminish, the focus of fat storage switches to the stomach area. Excessive visceral fat is not just a matter of your physical look or the way your clothes fit – it goes beyond that. This is likewise firmly linked to insulin resistance, cardiovascular illness, and other medical issues.
Weight Gain Around Menopause
In addition to a shift in where they carry fat, most women detect that their weight increases by a few pounds throughout and after menopausal transition. It appears that there is a combination of causes that has led to this.
Initially, when estrogen levels decrease, this leads to an increased resistance to insulin, as well as higher blood insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia), which causes weight gain.
Studies have indicated a rise in amounts of the “appetite stimulating hormone” ghrelin at the beginning of perimenopause.
Furthermore, the drop of estrogen during and post-menopause may affect the manufacture of leptin and peptide Y, which are hormones that influence appetite and keeping a healthy weight. The rising hunger levels and inability to feel full can result in consuming too much food and putting on extra pounds.
Despite not consuming any extra food than what is their norm, some females may gain weight during menopause as a consequence of the hormone alterations that have been discussed.
In conclusion, menopause and growing older can cause a decrease in muscle, which then leads to decreased metabolic activity and therefore, weight gain.
Low-Carb and Keto Diets for Menopausal Symptoms
Research is increasing which demonstrates that low-carb and ketogenic dietary plans are extremely successful for shedding pounds.
Being in ketosis can make it so that you do not feel as hungry due to lower levels of ghrelin being present. This is a great advantage.
A comprehensive analysis of 12 studies conducted in 2014 found that following a ketogenic diet decreases a person’s level of hunger and yearning for food.
Furthermore, the writers outlined that a ketogenic diet is one which results in higher levels of fasting β-hydroxybutyrate of at least 0.3 mm. Eating fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day can lead to a very mild degree of ketosis.
Many women have said anecdotally that they have seen reduced body weight both during and after menopause when they have adopted a low-carb or keto diet.
Despite having some research featuring middle-aged and more mature women involving carb limitation, there is surprisingly slight investigation investigating the impacts of such an eating plan in women who are going through menopause.
In an experiment lasting two years and comprising seventy obese postmenopausal women, a comparison between those who adhered to a low-carb, paleo diet and those with a low-fat diet showed that the former had greater reductions in abdominal fat and triglycerides.
In a separate trial, fifty middle-aged overweight or obese women either restricted their caloric intake or kept it the same, beginning with 20 grams of carbs per day and gradually raising it by 10 grams every week for a period of 12 weeks.
Despite both groups having a comparable amount of weight loss, the low-carb group had a more substantial decrease in triglycerides and demonstrated a higher decline in cholesterol ratios as compared to the calorie-restricted group.
It is important to note that while the low-carb group began their regimen on a ketogenic diet, they had shifted away from this eating plan towards consumption of 140 grams of carbohydrates by the completion of the study, negating the ketosis effect. This indicates that dropping carbohydrate consumption to very low amounts and thus achieving high ketone levels is not essential for shedding weight.
Without a doubt, further examinations concerning low-carb and keto diets that are of superior quality need to be carried out among women who are in menopause. It is logical to assume that a diet which reduces insulin levels and assists in managing hunger would be extremely useful for people.
Primal+Keto Diets Can Be Calorically Efficient and Nutrient Dense
As women and men get older, their ability to take in nutrients becomes less reliable. The combination of not enough consumption and aging makes elderly people vulnerable to not having enough of certain vitamins (B6, B12, D, and E), calcium, and protein.
It is essential to begin paying attention to the amount of nutrients in our food at an earlier age, as this is increasingly essential when we are in our 60s and 70s.
Not all ketogenic diets are particularly rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, but a Primal-aligned ketogenic diet should contain ample amounts of nutrient-dense foods that are especially beneficial for women over 40:
- Meat and eggs, especially for B vitamins and protein.
- Nuts and seeds for vitamin E and magnesium.
- Vegetables and avocados for a host of nutrients, including potassium and magnesium. Green leafy vegetables are also good sources of folate, which may help reduce the severity, duration, and frequency of hot flashes.
- Small-oily fish, which provide omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and calcium that women need to maintain bone mineral density. A study of postmenopausal women over age 45 with metabolic syndrome found that supplementing with omega-3s for six months decreased markers of inflammation and insulin resistance, lowered triglycerides, and improved blood pressure.
Despite previous assumptions that keto involves eating a measly amount of protein, those trying the diet are recognizing that higher quality and greater quantities of protein can be included, without sacrificing the ketosis state. The concept of “too much protein” being consumed is a relatively subjective one, which is being flexibly interpreted by dieters.
Despite this, some low-carb diets advise women above the age of 40 to lower their protein consumption. This conflicts with all our knowledge regarding the necessity of protein for preserving muscular and skeletal health in elderly people.
For people over 40, the concern of getting enough protein to ensure that age-related decreases in muscle mass and protein consumption is greater than any worries about optimizing ketone levels.
You should aim to consume around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight (or 0.36 grams per pound). That is only 0.11 pounds (54 grams) of protein for a 150 pound female.
Experts argue that it is necessary to consume at least 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.45 grams of protein per pound) for healthy aging, and those with acute or chronic illnesses may need up to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.68 grams of protein per pound). That means a woman who is 150 pounds should eat between 68 to 102 grams of protein, which is still not a particularly high amount.
The Keto Reset Diet proposes to begin with 0.7 gr of protein per pound of slim body mass, which commonly works out to roughly 70 grams as the least for females.
Females of more than 40 years of age have potential to ascend further if they involve themselves in physical activity. A study discovered that postmenopausal women who ate lesser than the necessary daily amount of 0.8 g/kg of protein (50 grams per day on average) had increased body fat, more reported broken bones, and greater rates of osteoarthritis and high blood pressure when compared to females who ate more protein (at the average rate of 80 grams per day).
If you are trying to consume less calories, you should up your protein intake since it is the most filling macronutrient. Relatively higher-protein diets are favorable for fat loss.
Not all female individuals experience a weight boost throughout their forties and fifties, but it can be incredibly irritating for those who do. Ketogenic diets, even when combined with periods of fasting and reducing caloric intake, may not provide the desired outcomes in terms of weight-loss.
Despite this, they can assist in producing a beneficial atmosphere for shedding weight, and more importantly, they can bring in other advantages that we should give precedence to in our advanced years, inclusive of decreased inflammation and increased cerebral capacity.